Space Tourism

Hello Friends,

We all love to travel. It is a means to explore new traditions, cultures, foods, territories and most importantly to take a break from our busy professional lives. Our hectic schedule of office, angry boss, unsatisfied clients, jealous colleague and corporate politics sucks our energy and forces us to live robotic life. Travelling is the gateway to feel human like again. For some beaches are the gateway, for some hiking and many more, but ever imagined travelling to space that too not as an ISRO or NASA astronaut but as a tourist. If not, then you can start imagining now, but it’s still in development phase and too costly. There are many companies which have plans for this, but most of them was defence and aerospace manufacturer which now has vision of sending people into space. Whereas there are companies whose inception was on the ground of space tourism. These companies are founded by person behind “apki apni dukan” (Blue Origins), a visionary (SpcaeX) and a business man (Virgin Galactic).

Company

Founder

Founded Year

Target Year

Blue Origins

Jeff Bezos (Founder Amazon)

September, 2000

2018

SpaceX

Elon Musk (Founder PayPal, Tesla)

May, 2002

2018

Virgin Galactic

Sir Richard Branson (Founder Virgin Group)

2004

Delayed

 

Blue Origins

Moto – Gradatim Ferociter (Latin for Step by Step, Ferociously)blue-origin-logo

The company was not revealing its plan and nobody knows about this too. It has only come to public knowledge in 2003. In 2006 opens up about its plan for “New Shepard” suborbital system to be used as commercially for tourist in 2010 having flight frequency of once per week. In 2008 new plan came out, according to which unmanned flight mission in 2011 and manned flight mission in 2012. First unmanned flight test was done on April 29, 2015 and it flew as according to its plan. Test is been going in as we speak and now it has target of year 2018 for commercial manned test flight. There has been gradation to New Shepard and currently it is at New Shepard 2.

Main objective of company is to decrease the cost and increase the safety for passengers. Company has also done some projects with NASA and DAPRA for the purpose of being funded. Jeff Bezos recently said that he will sell Amazon stocks worth $1 Billion every year to keep the company funded.

SpaceX

SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies Company or SpaceX was founded on the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization on Mars. It has achieved most among these three companies including first privately funded liquid propellant rocket to reach Earth’s orbit. SpaceX has flown 10 mission to ISS (International Space Station) under a cargo resupply contract with NASA. Company is been contracted by two individuals to send them on a free return trajectory around the moon. Planned for 2018 may become first instance of lunar tourism. Company has also started designing “Interplanetary Transport System”.

“I would like to die on Mars, rather than die on impact” – Elon Musk

It’s been funded by Elon Musk, Google, Fidelity and many other private investors. Company is not yet been publically listed but has an evaluation on $12 Billion. Musk already had 2 Billion dollar company under his name (PayPal, Tesla) and this may become the third. This may not happen as once Musk said

“I just don’t want [SpaceX] to be controlled by some private equity firm that would milk it for near-term revenue”

 

Virgin Galactic

Aims to provide suborbital spaceflight to space tourists and suborbital launces for space missions. Initially planned for 2009 flight, it delayed on number of occasions and recently has a setback in flight loss of its spaceship. It has also taken payment of $200,000 each from 300 passengers by 2009 and planned for 2011 flight. Since then date is been re-postponed again and again. Branson’s mother told in an interview that she too want to go to space. When asked when that might be, she said

“I think it’s the end of the year”, adding after a pause, “It’s always the end of the year.”

In October 2014, one of its spaceships, VSS Enterprise ended in disaster. Pilot was seriously injured and co-pilot was killed. After crash of VSS Enterprise, spaceship VSS Unity is now carrying the goals of its predecessor. By March 2, 2017 three successful glide test has been completed by VSS Unity.

virgin galactic
SpaceShip Two (Central Fuselage) carried under its mother ship, White Knight Two

 

Unlike the other companies/agencies who usage liquid fuel and rockets for space mission, Galactic has totally different concept. There is a mother ship and a spaceship. Mother ship carries the space ship to its launch altitude before being released to fly on into the upper atmosphere powered by its rocket engine.  Then the spaceship glides back to Earth and have a normal landing. On 29th April 2009 it has first successful flight.

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